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The Gender Gap: Why Men And Women Buy Small Businesses

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 3/4/2014

BizBuySell.com report reveals the differences in why men and women enter small business ownership--and the answers may surprise you.

Most entrepreneurs acquire small businesses based on the same basic set of personal and professional motivations and desired outcomes, right? Maybe not. A study by the online business-for-sale marketplace, BizBuySell.com has uncovered significant differences in the reasons why men and women buy small businesses.

Men Versus Women - Differences When Business a Buying

A recent Business Journals article highlighted key findings from the study and showed that several gender-related trends are reshaping the business-for-sale marketplace.

  • Female entrepreneurs are motivated by a desire to be their own boss. Fifty-five percent of female business owners surveyed said that their primary motivation was a desire to be their own boss, compared to 48% of men. Both genders reported higher incomes and better lifestyles as their second and third most common motivations, but men were more likely to be motivated by a dislike of their current jobs.
  • Post-retirement men are motivated by boredom. Retirement is usually seen as a time to pursue interests or careers that you didn't have the time or opportunity to pursue in your pre-retirement vocation. Small business ownership is a fairly common goal for the retirement years--especially for men. The study showed that 93 percent of men who are retired also said they were interested in owning a small business, either as a hobby or as a part-time investment.
  • Women interested in buying a business are more likely to be divorced. It's an unfortunate fact that the business-for-sale marketplace is littered with companies that are being sold due to a divorce. When a married couple owns a business together, the business is often sold when the marriage goes south. In many cases, women choose to purchase another business on their own following a divorce: 20 percent of female business buyers identified themselves as divorced, compared to only 7 percent of men.

The differences between female entrepreneurs versus male entrepreneurs also extend to business categories. When it comes to the types of businesses that men and women are buying, female entrepreneurs slightly outpace men in retail and restaurants, while men have the upper hand in manufacturing, liquor stores and repair shops.

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